Posts Tagged ‘alec baldwin’


(Season 38, Episode 16)
Bumper

 

WHAT THEY’RE PROMOTING:

 

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: “The 20/20 Experience” (album)

 

 

COLD OPENING: Hugo Chavez Memorial (3:54)
Hugo Chavez Memorial

–      I enjoyed the fact that someone finally did a bit on Hugo’s death and didn’t present him as a 100% pure great guy… because let’s face it, he was not.

–      Armisen’s opening bit was pretty amusing and I liked Cecily’s voice as the translator. Fred later holding a glass of milk was also funny.

–      Justin’s Elton John impression was pretty funny too and his singing voice was pretty close to the real thing. I especially liked the lines about Hugo being just like a candle in the wind “if a candle could pull out two guns at a press conference,” his parrot wearing the same red beret, and the whole bit about capitalism killing a former civilization that lived on Mars.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

That was definitely still Darrell Hammond doing the introductions rather than Don Pardo.

 

 

MONOLOGUE: Justin Timberlake (7:57)
Monologue

–      This was chock-full with cameos and yes… I loved it. All the cameos were great and there weren’t really any that stood out from any others.

–      Dan Aykroyd being the bartender was hilarious and reminded me of Jon Lovitz having to serve the other five-timers during Tom Hanks’ 1990 monologue.

–      Chevy Chase’s appearance also really surprised me because I expected his portrait and there he was on the phone ordering a Rolls Royce on Steve Martin’s bill. I also liked Chevy telling Steve that they never see each other anymore and “it’s on purpose.”

–      Martin Short’s appearance was great too seeing as how he hosted earlier in the season. He also kinda played the same type of role he did back in the Alec Baldwin show in Season 32.

–      Candice Bergen’s appearance was legitimately the most surprising appearance out of all the cameos. She also cracked up a bit at Martin Short’s line, “I go in the sink.”

–      The Django Unchained reference with Bobby and Taran doing mandingo fighting was great, especially Bobby yelling out, “I KILLED MY FRIEND!”, Hanks saying he loves Drunk Uncle, and Bobby quickly thanking him and walking off.

RATING: *****

 

 

GAMESHOW: It’s a Date (7:58)
It's a Date

–      Awesome sketch.

–      Loved the opening announcer bit: “the only dating gameshow still on TV.”

–      I agree with Stooge that this was the perfect way to utilize Samberg’s cameo and his and Timberlake’s singing characters rather than doing a brand-new digital short with them singing about some other type of their anatomy.

–      Aykroyd and Martin appearing as the Festrunk Brothers was COMPLETELY unexpected and awesome as well. You could tell that the audience knew exactly what was going to happen as soon as Hader mentioned that they were brothers from Czechoslovakia. Them saying they’ve been in America for 37 years was also a great meta-reference.

–      Bobby was an excellent straight man here too like always and I loved his reactions to all the insanity going on around him.

–      Vanessa Bayer was also pretty solid here and I liked her not enjoying Bobby’s decidedly normal answers but rather wanting to go on the date with the singers AND Festrunks.

–      Steve telling the singers he can’t believe they’re not black was also quite funny.

RATING: **** ½

 

 

SKETCH: Veganville (5:35)
Veganville

–      You had to expect this character of Timberlake’s to come back because it’s probably the easiest thing for them to write for him and he has enough charisma and dance moves to carry the whole thing. The Dancing with Myself parody was the best.

–      Moynihan’s appearance here was another great one. He is so good at playing straight roles or slightly-offbeat characters.

–      The Harlem Shake thing at the end was the only real downside but I guess they were going to parody the stupid fad at some point. Hopefully they just leave it alone now to all the shitty internet videos.

RATING: ***

 

 

COMMERCIAL: NuvaBling (1:23)
NuvaBling

–      This reminded me of a commercial parody they would’ve done back in the late 90s with most of the female cast.

–      I really liked the idea of reusing the NuvaBling as earrings as it provided for an amusing visual and Aidy and Cecily’s exchange (“Did you get those earrings Tiffany’s?” “Close, I got them from my vagina!”)

–      I wonder why Taran played that role that any male extra could’ve taken over.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Suit & Tie” (5:06)
Justin Timberlake1

–      Love the fact that JT introduced his own performance and merely said, “Make some noise! LET’S GO!”

–      This was a really good performance; Jay-Z coming out and adding to the performance was also unexpected and another fun cameo as well. The man was actually smiling!

 

 

WEEKEND UPDATE with Seth Meyers (7:31)

Guest: Stefon
update1 update2 update3 update4 update5

–      Best Jokes: Chavez funeral; Dennis Rodman/fake bishop; TSA restrictions; Hebrew Playboy jokes; Hooters; Daylight Savings Time

–      Stefon was awesome. This may have been the best edition thus far. The ovation for this character went on for quite a while as he has easily become one of the most popular ones in a long time. I actually noticed Hader making confused looks at the cue cards from time to time at the lines that were clearly written after he was given the final script. I especially loved the Sweet Willie Walker bit, the burned-down Red Lobster, Donald Duck having a Vietnam nightmare, a club being based on the novel Push by Sapphire, and of course… the human fanny pack. I also liked Stefon asking if Seth was taking his girlfriend to Mexico to kill her and then inviting him to join HIS five-timers club.

RATING: ****

 

 

SKETCH: The Tales of Sober Caligula (3:49)
The Tales of Sober Caligula

–      I know most people have been writing this off as the requisite bad sketch of the night but I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. At first, I thought it was gonna be a rehash of that sketch where they would make references to things that Caligula did that sounded a lot like things that Timberlake did but I was quite happy when it was not that.

–      Taran was pretty funny here in his brief role; I liked his little moment where he felt up Justin’s golden armour. It also seemed to make Justin come very close to cracking up afterwards.

–      Bobby, once again, was also tremendous here. Tim Robinson also deserves credit though for the moment with his little sex pig.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

SHOW: Maine Justice (5:40)
Maine Justice

–      I never ever expected this to come back and while it definitely couldn’t live up to the original sketch, it was still entertaining. Sudeikis was hilarious as usual and Timberlake was also great in the role replacing Jamie Foxx.

–      I loved Kate McKinnon’s New Orleans accent.

–      Andy Samberg was a good straight man as expected. He would always do these roles really well back in the days when he was a castmember as well.

–      The conversation that Sudeikis had with the big fake alligator was insane and just amped the sketch up in terms of ridiculous-ness. It was definitely my favourite part.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Mirrors” (4:57)
Justin Timberlake2

–      Loved the Three Amigos introduction.

–      Another great performance. Timberlake is so great.

 

 

COMMERCIAL: She’s Got a Dick (1:44)
She's Got a Dick

–      This meant well and it seemed to be a good parody of the type of romantic comedy that Timberlake would star in but I believe this was kinda the stinker of the night.

–      I did like Fred as Eugene Levy and Kenan’s lines.

–      I don’t agree with all those stupid GLAAD people believing the sketch is “transphobic” or whatever though. First of all, it’s not. Secondly, change the channel if you don’t like it.

RATING: **

 

 

COMMERCIAL: Moet & Chandon (3:49)
Moet & Chandon

–      Did NOT expect Vanessa and Cecily to bring back these characters but I really enjoyed this just as much as I did the first time back in the Jamie Foxx episode. Timberlake was also a great addition here. I have a feeling this will come back again multiple times.

–      So many great lines here like Bayer talking about her middle parts being just plastic bags, jerking off a horse (“now who’s the horse!”), Cecily being covered in blood that wasn’t hers (“I was like ‘hello!’”), and the final bit with Cecily saying “oral.”

RATING: *****

 

 

Goodnights
goodnights

 

BEST PERFORMER(S) OF THE NIGHT:

–      Justin Timberlake/Bobby Moynihan/Vanessa Bayer

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

What else can I really say? This was an awesome episode chock-full of great performances, another superb job by Justin Timberlake, and some great music as well. All of the cameos were delightful! Only one middling sketch! This was the second-best episode of the season thus far, coming awfully close to the Christmas episode.

 

TONIGHT’S RATING: **** ½ 

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(Season 38, Episode 10)

Bumper

WHAT THEY’RE PROMOTING:

 

MARTIN SHORT: nothing really unless you count “Frankenweenie” back in October

PAUL MCCARTNEY: “Kisses on the Bottom” (album) – even though it came out way back in February

 

 

COLD OPENING: “Silent Night” (1:41)
Silent Night

–      Let me just take this moment to say that what happened in Newtown, Connecticut was a horrific tragedy. We’ve seen tons of school shootings all across the United States and for this one to happen at a fucking elementary school should tell the US government something about A) gun control laws and B) how they deal with mental health because clearly someone or two people or whatever who are able to go into an elementary school and start shooting at six-year olds has got something wrong in their head that has been ignored their whole life. I’m definitely not placing any sympathy on the shooter(s) so don’t think that but I just think that if they were treated at an earlier age, maybe shit like this wouldn’t happen. I also agree with Morgan Freeman’s statement that the media keeps sensationalizing the shooters instead of the victims for the most part which makes others want to one-up them and go out looking like a monster. It’s rather sickening on everyone’s part and I just hope the parents are able to recover this tragic loss. Sorry for getting on the soapbox a bit there but I just wanted to say that right off the top.

–      Anyway, this was a lovely tribute. They didn’t need to say anything. No one came out and talked specifically about what happened but this song by the New York Children’s Chorus encapsulated the whole thing and was a very classy and poignant way to open the show.

–      The kids did look pretty darn happy to get to say LFNY at the end.

 

 

MONOLOGUE: Martin Short (6:28)
Monologue

–      This was excellent. Martin was a ball of energy, the lyrics were hilarious, and the cameos were just the icing on the cake.

–      The stuff before the backstage/music portion of the monologue was very funny as well like Martin pretending to be humble and talking about his love of things in order of importance and ending with family. I also loved the brief return of Ed Grimley.

–      Paul Shaffer playing piano with Short was also great and I liked him mentioning that Letterman was “the cranky one.” Short sitting on the piano was funny and awkward when he mentioned that he didn’t know how to sit on one.

–      I liked Kristen Wiig’s cameo. Martin wanting to kiss her little deformed hand was very funny and it seemed to be ad-libbed when he got all hot and bothered by it.

–      I loved Martin going around kissing everyone because you could see Jimmy Fallon and Tom Hanks actually holding hands and jumping around excitedly in the background afterwards. Also, Sam Jackson backing up and his cold stare towards Short when he attempted to kiss him was hilarious too.

–      Martin kissing Lorne Michaels was also a hilarious shocker and it was nice to see Tina Fey there as well.

RATING: *****

 

 

SHOW: A Tony Bennett Christmas (5:13)
A Tony Bennett Christmas

–      ANOTHER CAMEO?!? Alec Baldwin returned and was fantastic! Having Martin play Tony Bennett’s brother Jerry was a hilarious bit of business as well.

–      Having Jay Pharoah show up as Kanye West (another great impression of his) made me realize that this was the first speaking role for a castmember tonight. Not that I’m saying it’s a bad or a good thing… just an observation.

–      The usual sponsor bit was also hilarious with Kanye awkwardly promoting a laxative suppository product. Baldwin’s “it sure is easy to get down in the dumps when you can’t take one” line was hilarious and Short had some great allusions to constipation as well.

–      Short hugging Baldwin over and over was also quite funny.

–      Is it just me or has Alec Baldwin lost a shitload of weight?

RATING: ****

 

 

SKETCH: Royal OB/GYN (5:27)
Royal OBGYN

–      Absolutely hilarious; I can see this as being a future classic. I don’t blame Bill for a second for coming so perilously close to cracking up in this sketch because Short’s character looked hilarious and WAS hilarious as well. It also seemed that after a while, Short was clearly trying to MAKE Hader crack up on purpose.

–      The first time Hader almost laughed was from Short’s ridiculous example of how he should respond when he sees her vagina. It caused me to lose it as well because Martin is just so damn good at being silly and over-the-top.

–      All the euphenisms that Short came up with for Kate’s vagina were hilarious. The “Downton Abbey” one got the biggest reaction but my favourite ones were “the King-Maker” and “Piccadilly Cervix.”

–      The guard bit worked but I wish we had not have seen Bobby sneaking by in the corner of the frame.

–      “Church of Taint Andrews” being the name for the Royal Butthole was hilarious as well.

–      Fred’s return as the Queen at the end was actually pretty damn funny because it was used so sparingly and I liked her saying she had to get her “Judi Dench” washed.

RATING: *****

 

 

COMMERCIAL: You’re a Rat Bastard, Charlie Brown (3:04)
You're a Rat Bastard, Charlie Brown

–      Oh my God, this was terrific. The impression showcase was hilarious enough but combined with the fact that it was a Charlie Brown special just made it all the more hilarious.

–      It was great to see Jason’s Philip Seymour Hoffman impression make a comeback.

–      The best new impressions were definitely Martin Short as Larry David (I actually thought it was really Larry for a second), Kate as Edie Falco, and Taran as Michael Keaton (his facial expressions were perfect).

–      The random shots of the audience reactions were hilarious.

–      The football scene was awesome with Bill and Kate just exchanging profanities and then Bill quickly saying that they would take a little intermission.

RATING: *****

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “My Valentine” (3:07)
Paul McCartney1

–      Joe Walsh?! Holy shit! I don’t think I have ever heard this song before this episode but this was a fantastic performance from McCartney et al. I may be a bit biased because I love the guy but I just really dug this.

 

 

WEEKEND UPDATE with Seth Meyers (10:39)
Guests: Jacob and The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party
update1 update2 update3 update4 update5 update6 update7

–      Best Jokes: North Korea rocket launch; Hillary Clinton/no hairdresser; HSBC; Jersey Shore Series Finale; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; Google/porn; deer/contraceptives; daughter born on 12/12/12

–      I was really surprised to see Vanessa Bayer playing this Jacob character because I remember her doing the same character from two years ago in a bar mitzvah sketch. I liked all of Bayer’s cheap “low-level roast jokes” followed by her mugging for the camera. This was very funny though in a great character-focused and dry kind of way.

–      The Girl You Wish… commentary was the best one that Cecily has done up to this point and she continues to impress me with her performances time after time. Too many highlights to list here because the whole thing was awesome but rest assured, I loved it all. Also, her quick racist comment is always great and the minstrel show thing was the best one yet.

RATING: **** ½

 

 

SHOW: What Up With That? (7:45)
What Up With That.

–      Yes, I like the fact that they brought this back. Samuel L. Jackson and Carrie Brownstein were great cameos as well along with Hader as Lindsey Buckingham of course.

–      Martin Short bringing back Jackie Rogers Jr. was absolutely hilarious even though they seemed to have forgotten to apply his pale white makeup or maybe didn’t have enough time. Either way, it was very awesome to see him back. Sam’s reaction during the whole thing was great too. They need to get Jackson to host again.

–      Jason’s dancing continues to entertain me.

–      Of course, everyone’s talking about Sam’s F-bomb. I believe Sam’s story that Kenan was supposed to interrupt him but they messed up the cue. Sam saying “bullshit” afterwards though was definitely intentional and Kenan had a terrific recovery line by telling him “That costs money.” Carrie making the zip-your-lip motion afterwards was funny too.

–      I also like how Kenan called Carrie “the funny one on Portlandia.”

–      Poor Tim Robinson; he made his only appearance of the night here as a dancing Santa.

RATING: ****

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Cut Me Some Slack” (4:39)
Paul McCartney2

–      This was not a song I expected from McCartney as it was more fast-paced and heavy but he did a great job nonetheless. Nirvana (well, most of them) were awesome in accompanying the legend as well.

 

 

SKETCH: Old Friends (3:42)
Old Friends

–      Silly little sketch with solid performances from both Short and Armisen as two old friends who share a lot of really strange details about their lives like Fred being a James Cameron impersonator (and apparently it’s going really bad) and Short being an actor for EMT training.

–      The odd detail with Martin and Fred asking Taran for the gramaphone and a captain’s telescope while adding that they would like to pay a lot for them was really funny.

–      Martin’s World War II book opens up with “It was the 1940s and everything was in black and white.”

–      The bit at the end with Martin saying he lives in a big field was also quite funny.

RATING: *** ½

 

 

SKETCH: Pageant Audition (4:08)
Pageant Audition

–      And one more highly-entertaining sketch to finish the night off… why not? Martin and Paul were a great duo and I liked how Paul kept asking if he could sing but Martin told him that he was not capable of singing.

–      The bit at the beginning with Kenan was hilarious.

–      Martin simply yelling at Paul doesn’t sound funny in theory but when it comes to the performances here, it really worked. I also liked how Paul just played the whole thing straight-faced and was clearly trying really hard not to laugh at Short’s antics.

–      Jason and Cecily were good straight characters too.

RATING: **** ½

 

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Wonderful Christmastime” (3:40)
Paul McCartney3

–      I absolutely LOVED how they segued from the previous sketch right into this musical performance.

–      Wonderful musical performance to finish off the night. Paul delivered and it was nice to see the New York Children’s Chorus again.

 

 

Goodnights
goodnights

 

BEST PERFORMER(S) OF THE NIGHT:

–      Martin Short

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Yep, I’m going the full monty for this. What we got here was a beautiful, lovely, awesome, wonderful, hilarious show. Martin Short was absolutely perfect as the host and Paul McCartney was stunning. The bevy of cameos was also terrific and along with the touching tribute at the top of the show, it just made this whole episode come to life. I thoroughly enjoyed this and I hope people recognize it as a classic in years to come.

TONIGHT’S RATING: *****


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 37, Episode 9)

The Show:

1. On the Record (5:24)

Greta Van Susteren (Wiig) welcomes Donald Trump (Darrell Hammond!) onto the show to talk about him being the moderator for the next GOP debate in Iowa. At either side of him, Newt Gingrich (Moynihan) and Rick Santorum (Samberg) sit idly by and are on the receiving end of some harsh insults.

– It was fantastic to see Darrell back and it’s good to see that he’s healthy enough these days to make an appearance on the show. His Trump impression never fails to entertain.
– The sketch mostly belonged to Darrell’s mimicry of The Donald and some of Kristen’s lines as Greta.
– My favourite parts were Donald talking about Obama’s birth certificate, his insults towards both Gingrich and Santorum, and Donald’s whole rant about people not being reliable because their wives are not a whole lot younger than them unlike Trump’s wife, Melania.
– The boom mic made a few appearances here.
Rating: *** 1/2

2. Monologue (3:30)

Katy mentions how her outfits are inspired by people she knew while growing up in California. Subsequently, she is visited by three of them (Hader, Samberg, & Wiig) who each inspired a different song.

– Amusing monologue. I liked Wiig as the California Girls inspiration and Bill’s Fireworks-inspired guy, but Andy as the big nerd, Kathy Beth Kerry, was the highlight of this whole segment. I loved him saying how he was doing ‘Before’ modeling for dog food commercials.
– It reminded me of Halle Berry’s monologue when they hinted at the Katy Perry/Kristen Wiig kiss but didn’t deliver. Kind of a cop-out but still funny.
Rating: ***

3. J-Pop America Fun Time Now! (5:09)

Jonathan Cavenaughson (Killam) and Rebecca Stelmachowiczison (Bayer) welcome their guest, Hello Kitty club founder Kirstie Davenport (Perry), all the while their teacher Mark Kaufman (Sudeikis) claims no responsibility and keeps trying to apologize to the audience.

– I never expected to see this come back so soon after debuting back on the Anna Faris show but I guess that WAS like five episodes ago. Although this was funny again, it wasn’t quite as good as the first one they did mainly because they didn’t really change a whole lot with the format or the jokes.
– Katy’s first sketch appearance is a positive one and she was a good choice because of her propensity to wear all these out-there outfits.
– Sudeikis was again the highlight here though with several great lines, especially his remark about the kids finding a “loving version of racism.”
– Fred Armisen as the girlfriend is a funny quick visual gag.
Rating: *** 1/2

4. The Apocalypse (2:33)

In a take-off of New Year’s Eve, the new ensemble film The Apocalypse features tons of stars and also ridiculous ones like SIR Judi Dench (with a moustache), Al Roker (Thompson), and Osama Bin Laden (Brittain).

– This was absolutely hilarious. I love multi-impression sketches so to shove them all into a trailer AND make fun of those stupid New Year’s Eve/Valentine’s Day/etc.-type movies was the icing on the cake.
– My favourite new impressions were Abby as Kirsten Dunst and Jay Pharoah as Cuba Gooding Jr. We also got some great reliable impressions like Bill doing Alan Alda, Sudeikis as Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Fred as Penny Marshall (I missed it!).
– Kristen’s Kim Cattrall part was probably the funniest part.
– Did anyone else notice Seth in one of the boxes at the very end? Nice reference to him actually being IN the New Year’s Eve movie.
Rating: ****

5. Kalle (4:00)

Katy Perry is the guest on a very strange Finnish talk show in which the host (Wiig) seems to have a clip ready for just about anything that is said or mentioned.

– Very strange but certainly hilarious sketch. Kristen was perfectly suited for this role and it was definitely a very different character for her to take on.
– All the random clips were pretty funny but I think my favourite ones were the clips of earlier on in the interview, the one of Wiig drinking tea with her cats, and the one of Kristen and Katy being friends in the future (“it’s from ze future”).
– Kristen’s strange dance at the end was great.
Rating: ****

6. Digital Short: Best Friends (2:19)

Andy and Katy sing a song about being best friends and then start to become disgusted and scared when a drug addict (Matt Damon!) and a brilliant lunatic (Val Kilmer!) join their ranks and continue to sing with them while doing all sorts of strange things.

– This was DEFINITELY my favourite digital short of the season. Everything worked so well here. The beginning with Andy and Katy singing was so joyful that you just knew something incredibly dark was going to happen and they delivered that in spades.
– The cameos were awesome too. Matt Damon’s was surprising but Val Kilmer’s was out of NOWHERE. I guess Andy is starting to get some pretty sick connections these days.
– The puppet looked a bit like Scred from the Muppets’ first year on SNL.
– Just when I thought it was going to run out of steam at the end, the puppet walking away to have sex with a white girl and the time machine gags only added to the classic short.
Rating: *****

7. Doggie Duty (2:49)

Fresh off the non-success of Bunny Business and Horse Play comes an animated film…’s soundtrack about dogs having to serve jury duty featuring artists such as Randy Newman (Armisen), Gwen Stefani (Wiig), Clint Eastwood (Hader), the guy from the Spin Doctors (Samberg), Meat Loaf (Sudeikis), and Florence Welch (Perry).

– This was another re-write of that Bunny Business sketch from way back but like I said, I’m a sucker for these types of sketches. The Randy Newman impression has got to go though because they ALWAYS include it at the beginning.
– Katy Perry impressed the hell out of me with her Florence Welch impression. Sounded EXACTLY like her.
– Sudeikis did a pretty good job as Meat Loaf even if he couldn’t do it as well as Chris Farley or Horatio Sanz.
– God, I can’t tell you how happy I was to see Bill’s Eastwood impression again.
Rating: *** 1/2

8. Robyn sings “Call Your Girlfriend” (3:38)

– I know nothing about this performer but she definitely impressed with her energetic performance here.
– My roommate’s name is Robyn. She was also suspiciously gone during the show. Hmm.

9. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (13:46)
Guests: Rebecca Larue, Captain Steve Rogers, and Stefon

Best Jokes: Rick Perry/Trump; Queen Elizabeth pay freeze; Spain/toilet paper; Toygaroo; human’s mental evolution

– Kristen’s flirting expert character was something much different from her usual stuff that she does on Update. It was a pretty funny piece and it was funny to see Kristen spread her legs for Seth and get closer to him. The revelation at the end with Kristen crying was the cherry on the cake.
– Alec Baldwin! It was awesome to see him make a cameo and do a commentary as the captain of the flight he was booted from. His constant side comments to Seth back and forth was pretty damn funny and he did a great job overall of course.
– Stefon makes his tenth Update appearance (and his eleventh appearance overall) and still never fails to entertain. Also, he ALMOST made it through this one without losing it. He almost got to the very end but A Fish Called Kwanzaa did him in. My favourite part of the whole thing though was Stefon mentioning the flaccid outreach group, Doctors Without Boners. I also liked him thinking that Seth didn’t have a family and that he was made by gay scientists.
Rating: ****

10. Royal Pregnancy (4:5o)

A visit with Queen Elizabeth (Armisen) and Prince Philip (Hader) proves loathsome for the newlywed Kate Middleton (Elliott) as they intimidate her with their cockney accents and threats to have a baby already. Soon enough though, Pippa Middleton (Perry) also visits and reveals her true accent as well to combat the royal family.

– The third instance of this sketch involving the Queen and Prince but at least they do something different with it every time. I liked Katy’s part in this sketch and her cockney accent was funny despite not being terribly accurate. She actually looks quite a bit like Abby.
– I liked the Dr. Who slam and Fred making the comparison between his ass and the IRA. Fred throwing the money out was also great.
Rating: ***

11. Politics Nation (3:51)

Al Sharpton (Thompson) gets his own political talk show but can’t quite seem to grasp the notion of doing a live show as his several blunders and miscues demonstrate, leaving Kelly O’Donnell (Perry) and Jim VandeHei (Killam) frustrated.

– This sketch was a lot of fun and it was great to see Kenan bring his Al Sharpton impression back after 3+ years.
– Katy was really good here. Not a role I expected her to take on. Taran was a good straight man too.
– The ending was fantastic with Kenan mumbling and fumbling through his closing lines much like Sharpton does on a regular basis with this show.
Rating: ****

12. Robyn sings “Dancing On My Own” (3:54)

– Another very enjoyable performance and this one acted as more of a female empowerment song. It worked. I am now Gloria Allred.
– Her dancing is insane. In a good way.
– Why was she making out with herself at the end?

13. One Magical Night (4:37)

While a piano player (Sudeikis) sings a little ditty, a lonely woman (Perry) finds her soulmate (Moynihan) at the bar who is unrealistically identical to her in every way they could both imagine.

– This was an excellent sketch and a really wonderful, sweet way to end the episode. It also gave Bobby Moynihan a rare lead role and he showed how capable of a performer he can truly be with his great performance. Katy was no slouch here either.
– Jason’s singing was a nice companion to the sketch and just added to the classic nature of the segment.
– My favourite part was probably them showing each other their tattoos.
– Bobby’s gonna have to start looking out for Russell Brand after that kiss.
– The ending was so dark but I loved Bobby’s insane screaming and then his casual walk back.
Rating: *****

14. Goodnights

 

OVERALL: What a fantastic show. I think I liked this episode even more because I was expecting absolutely nothing from Katy Perry and she delivered on every cylinder. She was a really good host; maybe she wasn’t a Timberlake but she was closer to what Taylor Swift pulled off a couple years ago. She looked happy to be there and she was never awkward or anything except for maybe a few brief moments during Kalle. Overall, the cast was great this week as well and there was some real sharp writing. Perhaps a new contender for best episode of the season. I’ve said that a lot this year but damn, it’s been pretty great so far.

BREAKDOWN:

HOST: KATY PERRY – 9 segments (Monologue; J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; The Apocalypse; Kalle; Best Friends; Doggie Duty; Royal Pregnancy; Politics Nation; One Magical Night)

CAMEOS: ALEC BALDWIN – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
DARRELL HAMMOND – 1 segment (On The Record)

FILMED CAMEOS: MATT DAMON – 1 segment (Best Friends)
VAL KILMER – 1 segment (Best Friends)

FRED ARMISEN – 5 segments (J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; The Apocalypse [2 roles]; Doggie Duty; Royal Pregnancy; One Magical Night)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 3 segments (The Apocalypse; Royal Pregnancy; One Magical Night)
BILL HADER – 6 segments (Monologue; The Apocalypse; Doggie Duty; Weekend Update; Royal Pregnancy; One Magical Night)
SETH MEYERS – 2 segments (The Apocalypse; Weekend Update)
BOBBY MOYNIHAN – 3 segments (On The Record; The Apocalypse; One Magical Night)
NASIM PEDRAD – 1 segment (Best Friends)
ANDY SAMBERG – 5 segments (On The Record; Monologue; Best Friends; Doggie Duty; Royal Pregnancy)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 4 segments (J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; The Apocalypse; Doggie Duty; One Magical Night)
KENAN THOMPSON – 4 segments (The Apocalypse; Royal Pregnancy; Politics Nation; One Magical Night)
KRISTEN WIIG – 6 segments (On The Record; Monologue; The Apocalypse [2 roles]; Kalle; Doggie Duty; Weekend Update)

VANESSA BAYER – 2 segments (J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; Best Friends)
PAUL BRITTAIN – 3 segments (The Apocalypse; Kalle; One Magical Night)
TARAN KILLAM – 5 segments (J-Pop America Fun Time Now!; The Apocalypse; Royal Pregnancy; Politics Nation; One Magical Night)
JAY PHAROAH – 3 segments (The Apocalypse; Royal Pregnancy; One Magical Night)

EPISODE MVPs: Katy Perry/Kristen Wiig


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 37, Episode 1)

SEASON PREMIERE BAY-BAY! This was the first episode in a long, long time that I actually didn’t watch live and had to wait until I could attain it through other means before I could post a review. Like a heroin junkie, I searched for the episode a mere five hours after it was complete and then came home to find 90% satisfaction. As I waited and counted down the seconds until the damn thing was all set up and ready to go, I salivated and started foaming at the mouth. The heroin was delicious.

After that, I watched the season premiere of Saturday Night Live.

The Show:

1. Either the 7th or 8th GOP Debate (11:05)

We are treated to a GOP debate moderated by Shepherd Smith (Hader) and featuring frontrunners Rick Perry (Baldwin) and Mitt Romney (Sudeikis) along with “candidates who can’t and won’t win,” including Michele Bachmann (Wiig), Newt Gingrich (Moynihan), John Huntsman (Killam), Ron Paul (Brittain), Herman Cain (Thompson), and Rick Santorum (Samberg).

– Very funny opening that clearly shows that the show hasn’t lost its sharp political writing. The only way I can really mention the aspects of this sketch is by going over each of the performers.
– I loved the fact that Alec was in the cold opening and he did a great take on Rick Perry with some pretty hilarious lines. I especially liked him not being able to talk for more than ten seconds without alienating some ethnic group or gender.
– Sudeikis’ bit comparing himself to the other candidates was hilarious especially him mentioning Herman Cain and silently mouthing, “I’m white.”
– Despite all these funny parts, my favourite was Taran talking about his knowledge of Chinese culture not limiting him to only one area of expertise. Using broken english made me laugh quite a bit and it was in a large part due to Taran’s delivery of his lines here.
– Bobby walking away was hilarious.
– I never expected Samberg to nail an impression so I like how he just made Rick Santorum crazy instead.
– Kristen’s bit as Michele was funny like usual as well. Her best bit was about her obviously gay husband.
– Of course, Hader rocked it as Shepherd Smith as well like he usually does whenever he does the impression of this strange, weasely anchorman.
– Kenan as Herman Cain was okay and Brittain as Ron Paul wasn’t as strong as the others, but they were still fairly funny. Brittain’s impression was actually pretty good too.
Rating: ****

2. Monologue (4:33)

Alec celebrates his 16th time hosting but is interrupted by Steve Martin (big surprise!), who wants to test him for steroids with the help of “drug expert” Seth Rogen.

– You had to know Steve was gonna show up for this but it was funny nonetheless. I enjoyed Baldwin’s comments before the cameo, especially talking about hosting the Oscars and Steve helping out a bit.
– Seth Rogen’s cameo came out of nowhere but it was funny despite the fact that he didn’t get all that much to do. I did like his line about Steve Martin getting 108 results when he searched for him.
– The pee drinking thing was a bit much but Steve is one of the few that can make that funny with his dry delivery and great deadpan humour.
Rating: *** 1/2

3. Red Flag (1:51)

A gorgeous woman (Wiig) walks through a party and flirts with various young bachelors (Samberg, Sudeikis, & Killam) while a voiceover points out some red flags that should notify others that she is actually a crazy person.

– This was very funny and featured a great performance by Kristen as the woman in question.
– The best parts here were Jason spitting up his drink, Wiig putting her finger in Taran’s mouth, and the line by the narrator about her being “funny but not funny ha-ha, like funny yikes!”
Rating: ****

4. All My Children Wrap Party (4:32)

Susan Lucci (Bayer) hosts a wrap party involving the cast and crew from the long-running soap opera, but things get insane when the soap opera-like antics carry over to the creative forces behind the show as well as they continue to one-up each other in terms of bizarre and unusual quirks and confessions.

– This was definitely my favourite sketch of the whole night and I think it ranks as a near-classic in my book. Everything worked here for the most part from Bayer’s hilarious impression of Susan Lucci to the ridiculous confessions to the insane names that everyone introduces themselves with.
– Bill Hader’s bit may have been my favourite with his line, “OR WAS I PUSHED?” especially how that line was repeated later on by Brittain and Sudeikis (who was especially hilarious as a crazy man).
– Best lines? Baldwin responding to a question about having kids by saying that he has cancer, Kenan’s bit about everyone having AIDS, and Kenan as his own evil twin (“I mean… his regular twin”).
– Samberg mistakenly coming into the wrong room was also a hoot.
– The only thing that didn’t work all that well was Fred with his hair blowing in the wind.
Rating: **** 1/2

5. WDHX Buffalo (3:55)

Co-anchors (Baldwin & Elliott) speak with a correspondent (Wiig) on location in Costa Rica and have to deal with a time delay while attempting to warn the surgically-enhanced reporter about various critters that are crawling all over her

– I’m sure some people will dismiss this as “some whatever Kristen Wiig shit” but fuck ’em. I enjoyed this a decent amount and it was a much more creative take on one of those typical “morning-show-gone-wrong” premises.
– I liked the twist that Wiig’s character had gotten Botox and I especially liked her retort that Baldwin’s character had herpes.
– I really thought this was going to be Herb Welch at first (who I love, by the way!) but I’m really glad they went a different route with this and gave us a non-recurring character.
Rating: ***

6. Radiohead performs “Lotus Flower” (4:57)

– It is undeniably awesome to see this band back on SNL for the first time in eleven years and they did a great job here. Their songs always sound unique and this one was no exception.
– Thom has an insane way of dancing. I love it.

7. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers (8:32)
Guest: Tony Bennett (Baldwin)

Best Jokes: new tax; gay recruiting; fashion terms; NYC women uptight; freon thief; PETA/porn




– The sole commentary comes from Alec doing one of his classic bits: his Tony Bennett impression. He had so many good lines here and there, my favourite probably about John Garfield “croaking on top of a chick for hire.” Although I also loved his line about the He-bro, the bit about confusing a blind girl with the help of Bobby Darin, and the sponsor spot at the end with Poise Pads.
Rating: ****

8. Who’s On Top? (5:09)

An absurd gameshow featuring contestants (Baldwin & Bayer) being given a pair of celebrities and having to guess which one of them would be on top if they had gay sex together.

– The introduction by Bill as the gameshow host was hilarious as was Sudeikis quickly leaving after hearing the rules of the game.
– My favourite parts were Baldwin’s dissection of Billy Joel/Bruce Springsteen and Timon/Pumbaa along with Bill warning him of the remaining time left with saying “ten more minutes.”
– Bayer was good here, Hader was great as usual as the host, but Baldwin was particularly excellent here as the overly-eager participant and him going through the Lightning Round was a great example of comic timing, especially him mentioning “the other guy” after only hearing Paul Giamatti as the first participant. Entourage fans take notice of the great bit at the end.
– The end was hilarious with Baldwin opting to lose all his money thinking that it led to some type of bonus round but it just meant that Baldwin lost all his money at once.
Rating: ****

9. Top Gun Auditions (2:54)

Commemorating the 25th anniversary of Top Gun, several different actors of yesteryear try their hand auditioning for various parts in the well-remembered film from Tony Danza (Armisen) to Harvey Fierstein (Hader) to Al Pacino (Baldwin) and many, many others.

– This was a pretty funny follow-up to the Star Wars and Back to the Future auditions sketches, particularly with Alec-as-Pacino, Bill with both of his impressions, Fred-as-Danza, and Taran’s impressions of Tom Hanks and Bobcat Goldthwait. Really though there weren’t any real duds here and I enjoyed this quite a bit from start to finish.
– The Prince impression was pretty much the same thing they did with it last time but it still makes me chuckle.
– Andy’s Crispin Glover was so strange it made me laugh.
Rating: *** 1/2

I just want to mention here that those usual shots-during-the-middle-of-the-commercials bits got super cool here as the camera took us backstage for a bit where we actually saw Radiohead chilling and a few costume people walking around.

10. Child Psychologist (4:37)

Renowned child psychologist (Baldwin) attempts to have a romantic date with a woman (Bayer), but his young daughter (Pedrad) constantly creeps around behind them. Despite the woman’s reluctance to ignore her, the psychologist informs her that by giving her attention you give her the power and thus have no control.

–  I’ll admit here that Nasim’s voice was a bit grating at the beginning but the sketch got better and better as it went on from Nasim being perched on top of the cabinet to her burning Alec’s blue tennis jacket. Still, this was probably the weakest sketch of the night but not as bad as some have said.
– Vanessa continues to impress with her performance as the straight woman in this sketch. She has a very likeable grounded quality to her that I really enjoy. She even made it funny when she was covered by the tapioca pudding (which kinda looked like oatmeal) just from her great subtle reaction.
– I liked the ending with Alec saying, “After we have sex, you should probably go home.”
Rating: ** 1/2

11. Radiohead performs “Staircase” (4:32)

– Another fine, albeit weirder, performance. Dig Thom’s crazy dance moves!

12. Angels in the Trenches (3:39)

An old-timey war film on TCM features a number of dying soldiers (Baldwin, Armisen, & Moynihan) making a number of pleas to another one (Killam) that get increasingly more and more bizarre and offensive.
– This was hilarious and the whole thing was carried by Taran Killam. He is definitely the best of the featured players and it’s any day now that he’s going to break out and have the whole world notice his talents.
– My favourite were Baldwin telling Killam to tell his brother he has cancer (“trust me, it will be hilarious”), telling him to tell his son that Taran killed him, and the slew of yo momma jokes disguised as last requests that followed from all three soldiers.
– This was one of the best closing sketches in quite some time. A near-classic despite its very basic premise.
Rating: **** 1/2

13. Goodnights

– Alec being caught off-guard was pretty funny.

OVERALL: Wow, what a season premiere. There wasn’t a single sketch here that I flat-out didn’t like and the only thing that even came close was the child psychologist segment. Baldwin was a terrific host as per usual but he didn’t eclipse this fantastic cast that was a great blend of old guard and blossoming newcomers. It seems that it’s about that time for Kenan and Fred to cut their losses and go but I wouldn’t mind everyone else sticking around for a while yet. I sincerely hope this isn’t Hader or Sudeikis’ last year and I pray that Seth remains on Update for at least another season or two.

BREAKDOWN:

HOST: ALEC BALDWIN – 9 segments (Either the 7th or 8th GOP Debate; Monologue; All My Children Wrap Party; WDHX Buffalo; Weekend Update; Who’s On Top?; Top Gun Auditions; Child Psychologist; Angels in the Trenches)

CAMEOS: STEVE MARTIN – 1 segment (Monologue)
SETH ROGEN – 1 segment (Monologue)

FRED ARMISEN – 4 segments (Monologue; All My Children Wrap Party; Top Gun Auditions [2 roles]; Angels in the Trenches)
ABBY ELLIOTT – 3 segments (Monologue; All My Children Wrap Party; WDHX Buffalo)
BILL HADER – 4 segments (Either the 7th or 8th GOP Debate; All My Children Wrap Party; Who’s On Top?; Top Gun Auditions [2 roles])
SETH MEYERS – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
NASIM PEDRAD – 3 segments (All My Children Wrap Party; Top Gun Auditions; Child Psychologist)
ANDY SAMBERG – 5 segments (Either the 7th or 8th GOP Debate; Monologue; Red Flag; All My Children Wrap Party; Top Gun Auditions)
JASON SUDEIKIS – 4 segments (Either the 7th or 8th GOP Debate; Red Flag; All My Children Wrap Party; Who’s On Top?)
KENAN THOMPSON – 3 segments (Either the 7th or 8th GOP Debate; All My Children Wrap Party; Top Gun Auditions)
KRISTEN WIIG – 5 segments (Either the 7th or 8th GOP Debate; Monologue; Red Flag; All My Children Wrap Party; WDHX Buffalo)

FEATURING:

VANESSA BAYER – 3 segments (All My Children Wrap Party; Who’s On Top?; Child Psychologist)
PAUL BRITTAIN – 2 segments (Either the 7th or 8th GOP Debate; All My Children Wrap Party)
TARAN KILLAM – 4 segments (Either the 7th or 8th GOP Debate; Red Flag; Top Gun Auditions [2 roles]; Angels in the Trenches)

Episode MVPs: Bill Hader/Taran Killam


Season finales of Saturday Night Live can be sketchy sometimes especially where the cast is finally wearing down after a whole buttload of work throughout the year and their motivation has worn down considerably since September. Really, they just want to do a passable show and get the hell out for four months. Sometimes they have a wild card as a host for the finale, but it is usually much preferred to have someone more dependable like a Kevin Spacey or Steve Carell or Steve Martin.

Or this man. Alec Baldwin.

Making this his fifteenth time hosting (an all-time record tied with Steve Martin), Alec has always been one of the perennial go-to hosts and even though he’s had a few lackluster episodes, his performance is always up to par and he proves to be a great foil for the rest of the cast.

Baldwin is joined this week by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, who are making their slightly-less-impressive eighth appearance (which nearly reaches Paul Simon’s record). I have always been a fan of Petty and co. and to see them reach a plateau of eight appearances thus far is a joy to behold. Their new album is slightly more folk-inspired rock but retains that great Heartbreakers sound we all know and love.

Onto the program!

The Show:

1. Oil Spill Press Conference

Representatives from British Petroleum (Hader), Transocean (Armisen), and Haliburton (Sudeikis) discuss the plans they have to eradicate the oil spill problem. After bringing up the failed plans they already put into effect, the reps discuss their new ideas like “Dolphins with Mops,” “Duct Tape,” and “The Back-Up Plan.” The dolphins idea was my favourite tied with the title of the aforementioned J.Lo film. It was brief but pretty damn funny. B+

2. Monologue

Alec quickly notes that he has hosted “14 times more than Betty White” before bringing out his good friend Steve Martin on TV “live via satellite.” He mentions his honourary doctorate, distinguishing himself as Dr. Alec Baldwin OBGYN and then gives his Saturday Night Live commencement address. Balwin’s charm and wit make for an entertaining monologue. B

3. Digital Short: Great Day

A man (Samberg) strung out on coke spends his day jumping around dancing and singing with the neighbourhood. Andy and co. do a terrific job here creating a delightfully dark, twisted, and zany short with some great visual jokes and a wonderful performance from Samberg himself. Even Alec and Tom Petty join in the fun for a brief moment. A+

4. Arizona Evenings

It’s the debut of another Kristen Wiig character. But unlike the Target lady, Gilly (who’s sort of grown on me), and Sue this character is not appealing at all. While filming a scene for the aforementioned soap opera, the new script supervisor, Starfish (Wiig) repeatedly interrupts to inform Morgan (Baldwin) that he is saying the wrong line among other less important factoids. C

5. Swim Team Awards

The Hudson Valley Swim Team’s coach, Coach Rooney (Baldwin) gives out awards for his ultimate loser team. While he gives out awards for things like participation and improvement, he also offers out snide comments and reveals secrets like a kid whose mom he is having an affair with. Good character and performance from Alec. B

6. Birthday Cookout

Social weirdo Bedelia (Pedrad) careens her way around her birthday cookout while hanging out with her father (Baldwin) on grill duty. Her awkward conversations with fellow teens at the party are the highlights of this wonderful character study. Bedelia is easily one of the most interesting characters of the most recent past as she goes from person to person while always maintaining a strange loyalty to her parents and never changing her personality to suit the end of the sketch. Another winner. A-

7. Preniva

Sally Field (Elliott) warns all women that they will all experience bone loss because all women “are incredibly weak and fragile.” Hence, she advertises Preniva, which isn’t necessary but is there for women who are simply scared of falling apart. Another home-run impression by Elliott and a funny ad parody on top of that. B+

8. Grady Wilson’s Intimate & International

The fourth installment of Grady’s (Thompson) sex tapes this time involves his Greek friend Costas (Baldwin), who also shows some very strange and seemingly non-sexual moves to practice with one’s lady friend. I liked this bit when it first started but now it’s starting to get a bit old and repetitive. C+

9. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers sing “I Should Have Known It”

As I mentioned earlier, Petty & the ‘Breakers have turned their attention to a more folksy way of rockin’ out but it seems to have paid off in this enjoyable tune. B+

10. Weekend Update with Seth Meyers

Oh, Seth. No matter the quality of the episode, you are usually one of the highlights with your great smarmy delivery and great news bits. I especially loved his bit on the oil reps just naming things around the room to fix the problem with the spill “Usual Suspects style.” This week, Snooki (Moynihan) stops by to discuss her hideous orange skin and the prospects of the second season of the unfortunate hit series Jersey Shore. Stefon (Hader) also makes another bizarre appearance (another one of my favourite characters) and this time, Hader manages to keep his composure except for one very brief moment. Finally, Garth (Armisen) and Kat (Wiig) show up to promote their summer tour and again, sing a bunch of songs they make up as they go. Lots of fun on Update this week. A+

11. Timecrowave

It’s a parody of those infomercials that air late at night…usually after shows like this. This time, it’s a microwave that instantly nukes your food because it depends on your remembering to send a frozen meal back in time so you could’ve eaten it in the first place. Of course, our hosts (Baldwin & Wiig) remind us that if you do not send the food back at the correct time, you could create one of those time-space paradoxes that destroys or alters life as we know it. This was full of clever sight gags (while also poking fun at “celebrity” endorsements) and probably my favourite live sketch of the night. A

12. Whistle If You Can

A one-joke sketch where a john (Baldwin) tries to help a young hooker (Slate) change her ways but there is a method to his madness. I can’t even say what it is without giving the joke away, but suffice to say it is worth the build-up. B+

13. Snipers

Two snipers (Sudeikis & Thompson) maintain their sniper positions while taking orders from a less-than-intelligible general, who repeatedly tells them to “TAKE DA SHAW!” They of course have no idea what he’s talking about. This is another one-joke sketch, albeit slightly less successful. B-

14. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers sing “Jefferson Jericho Blues”

This tune has more of a bluesy sound to it as is probably quite obvious from the title of the song alone. Another goodie. B+

Alec, Tom and co, and the cast wave goodnight to one and all and close out another season of Saturday Night Live.

Well, for the finale, SNL basically went back to basics and got themselves a very dependable host to end the season with. Alec was great as usual and even helped to elevate the couple of sketches that were somewhat lacking in quality.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers debuted their new sound and consequently their new album with a bang and two good performances.

Host Rating: A-

Musical Guest Rating: B+

Show Rating: B/B+

PS: Sorry for only one picture this week, but I had to write this kind of fast. The year-end Saturday Night Live Best of/Worst of will be posted at some point tomorrow.